Impeachment is symbolism for rejection of injustice

January 26, 2020 — by Anouk Yeh

In the past month, I’ve been wondering what components make an event worthy of being immortalized in history.

On Dec. 18, 2019, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the House of Representatives’s formal impeachment of president Donald Trump. 

Trump was charged for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress after he threatened to withhold military aid to Ukraine as leverage in an attempt to find compromising information about his political rival, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. 

Back in September, when Pelosi announced the initiation of the impeachment inquiry, she and other Democrats were quickly put under fire by Republicans and Democrats alike. Impeachment opponents are mainly split into two categories: those who believed that the grounds for impeachment were invalid and those who feared impeachment would only aid Trump’s campaign for re-election. 

This piece isn’t to sway those who question the validity of the impeachment charges; rather, it’s for the people in the latter group.

The main argument is that a failed conviction — a likely scenario since the trial votes will most likely be on party lines — would lead to a near guarantee of Trump’s re-election in 2020. 

While electoral considerations should be part of most political decisions, to what extent should they be prioritized? Simply put, it is  wrong to turn a blind eye to overwhelming injustice such as Trump’s shakedown of Ukraine in the name of winning any single election. 

Although it’s scary to imagine the re-election of a man who has no concern for human rights (e.g., the border, banning asylum) and a history of noncompliance with presidential policies (violation of the emoluments clause, nepotism), it’s scarier to live in a world where politicians ignore such blatant wrongdoing and abuse of power.

Regardless of whatever the cost may be, justice and fairness under the law should never be sacrificed for political agendas.

In addition, the idea of fighting for a more just tomorrow by complying with today’s injustices — and I say complying, because silence is compliance of the status quo — is quite an oxymoronic theory. A move for a more equitable future is not possible if the roots of the movement stem from ignoring wrongdoings.

In this essence, going forward with the impeachment process and openly condemning the president’s wrongdoings was the only correct course of action. 

Although it’s more than likely that the impeachment trial won’t result in a conviction and removal in the Senate, the process has already made monumental impact. 

Trump is one of three presidents who have ever been impeached in American history, and just the number itself speaks great volumes. 

Impeachment is so significant because of what it symbolizes. This impeachment is not only a denouncement of the president’s actions in Ukraine, but an accumulative condemnation of his immoral presidency to date. It is symbolic of the nation’s leaders finally acknowledging this his history of lawlessness, human rights violations, racism, nepotism, daily, almost hourly lies (some 16,000 to date according to the Washington Post) and overall lack of morality. The action being condemned by impeachment is only a small pinpoint of the large fabric of injustice in the current administration.

When I think of the defining moments in history, they are always shaped by people who dare to disrupt oppressive and unjust narratives, people who dare to fight for justice even when the truth is uncomfortable and inconvenient.

In the future, when we look back on the third presidential impeachment in United States history, we won’t remember the arguments for keeping our head down in the face of wrongdoing. Instead, we will remember the actions of courageous Democratic leaders like Pelosi who chose to stand firm against Trump’s wave of injustice.

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